The maths must be contagious


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So I’m still on holiday, but while getting myself prepared for the final stage of the re-decoration efforts at home I was browsing while having my morning intake of caffeine and came across an interesting viewpoint reported at Blocks and Files claiming that HDS are the #1 in storage virtualization…

I did a little digging and found the report on TheInfoPro (select storage on the right and it wants some details before it lets you view it). Now its difficult to actually see for real, but on the slide on page 3 it looks very much like IBM is ahead of HDS if you include in pilot projects. So have HDS been sharing their mathematical models with this research group too?!

A couple of things worth noting :

  • The numbers here are comparing a stand alone virtualization device (SVC) with a storage controller that happens to have virtualization capabilities (USP) – nit picking maybe but think of it this way, there is a continual need for storage purchases which people have budgets for and is a standard IT asset. This means that its much easier to sell a USP by first going in as a storage controller, that happens to provide virtualization capabilities. SVC’s numbers are there on their own merit.
  • I found the link, and I was correct to remember a quote from HDS themselves that claim at any one point in time, about 10% of the USP in production are actually virtualizing external storage – mostly they are used for dracula type functions to pull in external data, or archive off data. So should we reduce this number quoted by TheInfoPro by 10%
  • What happens when it comes to replacing the USP in a few years time? So you want to upgrade to their USP-V+, you need an external tool to migrate the data out, which is likely to be disruptive – doesn’t that undermine all the benefits and the killer app of virtualizaton? Quite often we’ve found people will use SVC to solve this problem, and a lot of them leave SVC in there and give up on the USP virtualization, finding SVC much more flexible in the longer term. Thats why we support the Tagmastore and USP family as storage systems under SVC.

Anyway, statistics can tell you anything you want, and all vendors do it, but it would be nice to compare apples with apples, people who bought the USP primarily for its virtualization capabilities and not as a storage brick – however such data is subjective, difficult to obtain and probably not worth the effort. If you are one of those customers, be sure to contact your IBM sales rep when it comes to replacing your USP, you may find that SVC can solve the problems without resorting to days or weeks of downtime while you replace it.

Update: 21/4/08 : 10am I can’t find the 10% reference, but I did track down a claim of only 50% of the USP out there have been sold with virtualization licenses. Case closed.

“IBM claims to have sold 10,000 of the SAN Volume Controller storage virtualization that it launched in 2003. Hitachi’s virtualization software runs on the USP disk array that was launched in 2004, and the Japanese company claims that over half of the 6,000 USPs and diskless variants have shipped with a license for that virtualization software” CBR Online

Update: 24/4/08 : 1am A colleague found the link (thanks Chris), here HDS quote the 10 percent of virtualization use. Amended text in main body.

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